Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
by John Vincent Bellezza
Edited by Geoffrey Barstow, Mickey Stockwell and Michael White
Tibetan & Himalayan Library
Published under the THL Digital Text License.

II.3. Cubic mountaintop tombs

GomkhorSgom ’khor

Basic site data

  • Site name: GomkhorSgom ’khor
  • English equivalent: Meditation Circle
  • Site number: E-15
  • Site typology: II.3
  • Elevation: 4700 m to 4710 m
  • Administrative location (township): ZhungpaGzhung pa
  • Administrative location (county): GegyéDge rgyas
  • Survey expedition: UTAE
  • Survey date: May 21, 2001
  • Contemporary usage: Refurbishment as a Buddhist shrine.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: Plaques with the manima ṇi mantra.
  • Maps: UTRS VI, HAS A2
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Sites Images

General site characteristics

GomkhorSgom ’khor is the name of a rocky ridge that rises 50 m above an eponymous valley and settlement. There appear to be the remains of five cubic tombs in two different groups on the summit of GomkhorSgom ’khor. Two specimens were rehabilitated to serve as manima ṇi walls. GomkhorSgom ’khor is well known in the ZhungpaGzhung pa region for its many manima ṇi walls, built as acts of devotion by local residents in pre-modern times. Since the 1980s many of these shrines have been rebuilt. Uncut reddish and bluish volcanic stone slabs (mostly between 30 cm and 50 cm in length) were used to construct the tombs and to refurbish them for use as walls to support manima ṇi plaques.

Oral tradition

According to elder residents of GomkhorSgom ’khor, these structures are the remains of ancient MönMon tombs, which were converted into Buddhist shrines long before living memory.

Site elements

Middle summit

In the middle of the flat summit there appear to be the remains of two cubic tombs spaced 6 m apart. One of these specimens measures 2 m by 2 m by 50 cm. The other specimen has been reduced to a mound with no coherent features.

Edge of the summit

Some tens of meters to the north, two or three more cubic tombs are situated on the edge of the mesa-like summit overlooking the settlement of GomkhorSgom ’khor. These structures are situated about 3 m apart from one another. The largest specimen (2 m by 1.8 m by 1.2 m) appears to have some of its central depository intact. On top of this structure there are pieces of old plaques with worn manima ṇi inscriptions, creating a shrine that was built in pre-modern times. The design, construction and location of this structure corroborate its möndurmon dur attribution in the local oral tradition. It is longer and the stonework is of generally higher quality than the purpose-built manima ṇi walls of GomkhorSgom ’khor. The morphology of a second specimen, used to enshrine manima ṇi plaques, does not permit positive identification as a cubic tomb. The third specimen (1.6 m by 1.9 m) has been nearly leveled.


Note Citation for Page

John Vincent Bellezza, (Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010), .

Bibliographic Citation

John Vincent Bellezza. . Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010.